The antics of Reps. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) and Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) coupled with the ethical cloud now hanging over Reps. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.) and William Jefferson (D-La.) and even Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) make it difficult, if not impossible, to take seriously the “corruption” diatribes we hear regularly from top Capitol Hill Democrats.
One might well ask, as the Pet Shop Boys might put it, how can they expect to be taken seriously? Certainly, there is nothing–no ideological orientation, no policy proposal, no higher standard of candidate recruitment–that makes individual Democrats (or Republicans, for that that matter) ethically pure. That being said, the public does care about ethical issues (ask former Sen. Robert Torricelli what he thinks), and Congress–Democrats and Republicans alike–should take quite seriously the public’s disgust with the institution.